Australia says it will ‘not be intimidated’ by Facebook

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that his government will not be intimidated by Facebook’s decision to block local users posting to local news on its platform.

The announcement is the latest salvo in the escalating spat between the Australian government and the social media company over proposed legislation that would force tech giants to pay Australian news publishers for content linked to on their platforms.

The proposed bill, named the News Media Code, has been met with resistance most vocally from both Facebook and Google, with the latter threatening to block searches Down Under if the legislation becomes law. Google recently softened its stance, signing multiple-million dollar deals with Australian media conglomerates. Facebook, however, has followed through with its threat to block users linking to Australian news outlets and blocking Australian users linking to both local and global news outlets.

Australia hits back on Facebook

In a post, ironically enough, on his Facebook page, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hit back at the social media platform for taking the action it did.

“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” he said.

“I am in regular contact with the leaders of other nations on these issues. We simply won’t be intimidated,” he said. “I encourage Facebook to constructively work with the Australian Government, as Google recently demonstrated in good faith.”

According to a report on the BBC, many Australians have been very vocal in their anger over the social network’s response. Not only that, the Australian government doesn’t seem to be willing to budge. The New Media Code passed the lower house of parliament yesterday with cross-party support. The BBC reports that the Senate is likely to pass it next week.

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